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Education

Most NC School Districts Are Well Under Suggested Amount Of Psychologists

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Increasing the number of school psychologists has come up as one way to make schools safer. The National Association of School Psychologists says there should be one school psychologist per 700 students. But in North Carolina the average is 1 per 2,100 students.

Speaking on WFAE’s Charlotte Talks Wednesday, CMS school psychology specialist Cyndi Shaw says that’s the case in CMS too. She says the district has recently shifted to a more comprehensive model aimed to identify serious mental illness, while also supporting the social-emotional needs of the average student.

“You can identify kids early who are at risk for developing serious mental health issues and you can intervene and we see increases in academic scores and we also see increases in the ability to cope with life’s problems,” said Shaw.

Cabarrus County Schools has slightly more school psychologists than the state average at 1 psychologist per 1,800 students. And in Fort Mill, there’s one psychologist per every school, which is closer to the recommendation of the National Association of School Psychologists.    

“We can build fortresses that are locked with security guards. We can build schools that are smaller. But until we can get to the hearts and minds of kids and helping them to understand how to interrelate with each other, we’re not going to be able to see change,” said Amy Lower, Psychological Services Coordinator for Cabarrus County Schools.

You can hear the full conversation here.